Scientology tax victory could cost Revenue millions - 2006-08-11
For the past decade the Church of Scientology has battled with the Charities Commission to gain charitable status. In 1999 the commission ruled that it was not a religion and that there was no "public benefit arising out of the practice of Scientology" and turned down its application.
Undeterred, it waged a separate struggle with the tax authorities to be granted tax-exempt status. In 2000 Revenue & Customs finally agreed that it was a not-for-profit body and was exempt from paying VAT. It had arrived in the UK in 1977.
In the UK it operates as the Church of Scientology Religious Education Incorporated, with assets of £18.9m, including donations, according to the latest accounts filed at Companies House. Its members pay for the church's courses, fuelling an annual income of £9.82m.